The Importance of Social Value

An update on Manchester City Council’s creation of social value through procurement activity:

Over the course of the last ten years, Manchester City Council has been at the forefront of progressive policy and practice around procurement. With an annual spend of over £600million, Manchester City Council has sought to ensure that every procurement decision it makes brings maximum benefit for the economy of Manchester and its residents. This means working with and utilising Manchester businesses to provide goods and services and ensuring that organisations providing goods and services (regardless of where they are based) bring social value including through creating jobs and apprenticeships, creating volunteering opportunities and reducing carbon footprint.

The work of Manchester City Council around procurement has involved a number of activities. First, they have developed a procurement policy statement which not only considers traditional factors such as cost and quality, but also ensure bidders for contracts consider social value. Second they have embedded the city’s corporate priorities into the procurement process, so that suppliers are actively encouraged to contribute towards achieving them.

Third, through work with the Centre for Local Economic Strategies (CLES), they have actively measured where their procurement spend goes in geographical terms, and what wider impact it has on Manchester in economic and resident terms. As part of this work there has been a focus on monitoring and increasing spend with SME’s which reached £246m in 2015/16 and equates to 56.5% of spend with the Council’s top 300 suppliers. This compares with the government’s most up to date figures of 27% in 2014/15. And fourth, they have undertaken an array of work with Manchester based business to increase their skills and capability to bid for opportunities and also ensure their provision of goods and services brings maximum benefit. This has included: simplifying documents, hosting meet the buyer events, developing supplier networks, and visiting suppliers in areas of deprivation to promote the importance of social value.

The work described above and much more has impacted on the behaviour of procurement officers, the relationship of the City Council with business in Manchester, and has ultimately increased levels of investment with Manchester based business. The work around progressive procurement by Manchester City Council is far from done – procurement decisions are made with a minimum of 20% of the contract award score allocated to social value and Manchester City Council has recently launched an Ethical Procurement Policy.

Relevant documents can be downloaded from the Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce website

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